Overland Park, Kansas

Burnt Ends

The BUZZ

What's it like to live in Overland Park

What advice would you give to someone who is moving to Overland Park, KS?

I moved two years ago from Europe, so here goes my list:

get a car for each adult member in the family (well, this may sound obvious, but it was not to me). Unless you are lucky, there will be almost nothing in walking distance.
if you are looking for house, don’t waste time looking for small house; 90%+ of the small ones are old and not very nice (exceptions exist)
don’t bother with big backyard - you will stay inside in the summer anyway (either due to the killer combination of heat and humidity or because of our newest friends, oak mites)
you can gain a lot of weight if you follow Midwest triple B diet (beer, burgers, barbecue); make sure you will find some good exercise
I would probably stay south of 100th street (might be my personal opinion, but I think it is safer there)
buy smoker and learn how to do the best bbq in the world
get Royals t-shirt and go see a game with friends
Farmer’s market is awesome place
If you are moving from outside US without anything, Ikea in OP is your friend

What advice would you give to someone who is moving to Overland Park, KS?

I was raised in the OP and it was a wonderful place to grow up. The weather is not that bad - not San Diego but you definitely get four seasons!

Overland Park is a very pleasant place to live and raise kids. There is a LOT more commercial development than when I grew up there (in the 70s and 80s), and the road construction seems interminable. Those are downsides, I’d say. And if you are moving from a city or more cosmopolitan area, you might feel like the Midwest is not very interesting or diverse. That’s why I’d say living in OP is best balanced by also spending time on the Plaza, Brookside, the K (Kauffman Stadium, home of the KC Royals baseball champs) or Arrowhead (home of the Chiefs football team), Crown Center, the Power & Light District, the many parks and lakes - even Lawrence, KS (about 30 miles west), home of the University of Kansas. There are lots of great neighborhoods and activities beyond just OP, in the greater KC area.

Midwestern people are good people; I’m proud to be from there and I think you would probably like most of the folks you meet. Plus… the BBQ!

What advice would you give to someone who is moving to Overland Park, KS?

First of all I would say, Welcome and next I want you to understand and be patient with the midwestern weather, you can have extremes in summer of 100 degrees and suffocating humidity or -5 below in winter where the road crews don’t quite have either the budget or the knowhow to prepare the roadways for snow like they do in the upper midwestern states where people go about their lives in 3 feet of snow 9 months of the year with 3 months of “bad sledding”. And oh the Kansas ice storms, I have lived through these magnificent disasters watching transformers blow up in green flashes all over the city, living without any sort of power in a completely susburban habitat for a week and a half and practicing survival bbq skills as well as DIY hygienics.

Drive an SUV with 4WD. You won’t use that more than a month out of the year but it will make or break you getting to work on the ramps that love to become black ice in winter. I’m writing this after a snowfall here in KC, can you tell.

Schools are great in almost any neighborhood.

Real estate has become expensive after the housing crisis, so be prepared for an average home to cost $200000 plus. The upside is steady appreciation on any house you just at about 5% a year. The rule is…3 bedroom ranch, two baths, double car garage, on a quiet street….you just can’t lose on a house like that.

Soooo many apartments are being built! Nice new ones with pricey rents, a lot of them are happening in the graveyards of old shopping centers in the style of the dorm you lived in at college, with shops and eateries on the bottom floor and apartments on top.

If you have a house, get ready to mow your lawn and the yards, even the smallest houses have huge lawns. The term “get off my lawn” must have been coined by watching Kansas curmudgeons watering their precious fescue. (A type of green grass BTW).

l love this city. There’s always something to do. People are very friendly with a few “I want to talk to the manager” snots but never to the extent of some bigger cities.

Enjoy

Moving to Overland Park, KS from Houston, TX

I'm 44 and transplanted to the KC metro from New York City back in 1997. I can relate to your situation here, though I am not from the south.

First thing you're going to notice is how relaxed this area is compared to Houston. Traffic exists but it's not insane all the time. You'll feel like you're on vacation all the time up here.

Next thing you'll notice is that while there are good restaurants, they're not every six feet like in a larger city. When I first moved here, I found good places to eat (love the BBQ) but you can't walk 10 feet and run into two good pizza joints. If you try, you'll find the diamonds in the rough but mostly there is a lot of mediocre food. I DISAGREE about the Asian and Mexican food. There are good Mexican restaurants around here, just not in the quantity you're used to.

Third, things are cheaper. It's just a lower cost of living around here.

Fourth, as Eskaminagaga pointed out the flights are tricky. (s)he is right in that KC is a second or third tier city airport-wise. So, while you're find flights of course, it'll be typically more expensive and you'll wind up transiting through other regions. I travel to Asia several times a year and always have to get up to Chicago, down to Houston etc before I head over the Pacific.

Good luck, you're going to like it here!

Things you'll LOVE about Overland Park, KS